Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Dogs Have Made My Life Better

Of course, they wake me up in the morning, they teach me patience, and they make me laugh. But there are other, less obvious ways in which being Bonham and Violet’s indentured hound-slave has enhanced my life.

1. They’ve introduced me to the whole village. My friends think I bought my house, an old Georgian farmhouse in Herefordshire, because it looks like Mr. Darcy might pop out of the front door, but the truth is I chose it because it’s on a footpath that leads round a three-mile nature trail of apple orchards, woods and fields—perfect for walking my two Basset Hounds.

Writing can be a lonely occupation, but no matter what time I take my dogs out for a stroll, we always meet someone, and they always stop for a chat. I’d only been in the village for a week before people would say, “Ah, you’re Bonham and Violet’s owner!” and now I know nearly everyone—and they know me!

2. They keep me warm in winter. There’s nothing warmer than a 70-pound Basset Hound in full slumber mode. They’re like giant versions of those beanbags you heat up in the microwave. Imagine two of those draped over your knee—who needs central heating? I just have to make sure all books, remote controls, tea and chocolate are within reach because when the dogs settle in, they don’t like moving. Their dream is for the temperature to fall below a certain level at which point we can all sleep in one basket to save heat.

3. They make me do more housework. I’ll put my hands up; I am not one of nature’s domestic goddesses. For years, my idea of spring-cleaning was opening all the windows and running around squirting Mr. Sheen into the air. However, when you have two enormous hounds shedding more than you’d think possible, and emitting their own delightful houndy aroma, you learn to love your vacuum cleaner. My household routine has never been more rigorously attended to.

4. I don’t need a doorbell. My dogs can detect a deliveryman at 500 meters. Also postmen, visitors, builders, window cleaners, gardeners and carol singers. I’ve also saved on burglar alarms, as any burglar within a hundred-mile radius has probably heard them barking and assumed I keep a pack of feral Great Danes, not two sleepy Basset hounds.

5. They save my agent, editor and friends from “I’m stuck with my novel!” meltdown. When you live with a dog, you’ve always got someone to talk to. Dogs listen to your rants and woes, never piping up with “helpful” reminders, always looking at you with the same adoration at the end of whatever peevish grumble you’ve got off your chest.

I’ve talked through endless plot problems while tramping through the fields with my dogs, practicing dialogue aloud till it sounds right—my long-suffering agent is very grateful for this service the dogs offer, as otherwise she’d have to listen to it. I find once I start walking, my brain starts working its way through the knotty problems, so I really have the dogs to thank for dragging me out and making that happen.

And finally, they watch my figure for me. If I make a cake, Bonham particularly likes to make sure I don’t pile on the pounds by helping himself to as much as he can snaffle off the counter. We’re still working on that one.

Lucy Dillon is the author of the novel Walking Back to Happiness, about a young widow who is rescued from loneliness when she becomes a dog walker. (Look for Claudia Kawczynska’s review in the January 2012 issue of Bark.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend

I had a lovely relaxed weekend. Friday night I saw "The Help" with a new coworker who wanted to see it as well. It was such a great story; I laughed and I cried.

Yesterday I went with a dear friend to peruse Goodwill and have a super yummy lunch at Flying Saucer. I don't have the patience to find the deals that she does at Goodwill, but I was happy to meander the store. She has the patience and a good eye, so she found a lot of steals for her kiddos.

Last night I got to see my cousin and her husband - they are in town for a short time. I hadn't seen them since their wedding eight years ago, so it was a great reunion. They are here adopting a sweet baby girl. She was precious, and I am so happy for them.

Today I went to a sports bar to watch the Steelers game. It was a disappointing game, and unfortunately the best part of my outing was the hot wings. Haha. Hopefully their season will look up after today.

Now I'm just watching my Sunday night tv. There's a new Real Housewives of New Jersey on tonight. Oh, it's the simple (mindless) things that make you happy! I'm also researching evacuation plans. Feels like the fires are closing in on us here in Texas, so I need an idea of what to do just in case.

The pups are doing well. I think they love having mommy home on the weekends. We are going to start some of the dogs on flaxseed oil; it will help with joints, skin issues, and other minor ailments. Really it is a benefit for their overall health.

I plan to buy liquid Ivomec and start using that for our monthly heartworm prevention. If it's good enough for a rescue program, it's good enough for my dogs. Plus it will save a lot of money in Hawaii. Fortunately, I've been able to purchase our Heartguard at-cost for the last six months from a local shelter - not sure if I will have that option there.Still waiting on the bank to accept our offer on the Hawaii home...Any day now would be great. And so I wait...

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Had a Dream Last Night

Last night I dreamt that I was teaching middle school again. There were fifty kids in my class, and I had that one rotten egg who I sent to the office on the first day. Ok, it was more like a nightmare. Haha.

The night before I dreamt about dreams - kind of like inception. It was a little bit scary. The first three dreams we were put through were lessons, and then the subsequent dreams were brought on by the power of our minds and we had to learn to control them. Weird.

Today is Labor Day, and I'm just relaxing. I'm watching daytime tv and catching up on my sleep. Maybe I will do some cleaning and projects later.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

I'm in a good mood this morning. My friends are on their way over to help me move a couple couches to the curb for large item pickup this week. Pickups are in March and September - perfect timing to unload junk before the move.

Later I'm going to my supervisor's pool party & bbq. Last pool party of the summer! I can't think of a better way to send out the summer. Soooo excited for the holidays. October through December are my favorite time of year. We have both our birthdays and our anniversary in addition to: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. WOOHOO! I love it. And this year my big move will be somewhere in the middle of it all. Crazy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

One Picture

Guess for the final day of the challenge I was supposed to post a picture of me. This one was taken in July at the Tower of the Americas when my little sister was visiting me. Good times.

Last weekend I took Mason and Katie to the vet. Mason had clostridium colitis, but he's all better now. Katie's labs came back normal for the most part; a couple liver enzymes were a little high but nothing alarming. We are going to start her on Tramadol to make her more comfortable and do further testing on her liver enzymes.

It's Labor Day weekend, and I'm happy to have time to relax! Going to a pool party tomorrow. Maybe going out tonight. And also doing some projects, laundry, cleaning.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Songs

This is probably the hardest category of all! Ok, two songs...

1. Ben Folds "The Luckiest" - a wonderful non-traditional love song

2. Elvis Presley "Can't Help Falling in Love" - gotta love Elvis. My grandpa is a huge Elvis fan, and I grew up listening to Elvis.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three Films

Just three?! I LOVE movies. I live for movies. I'll have to think about this one...

1. Ok, well, Wizard of Oz was my first favorite movie. I watched it every single day the summer that I was four years-old. Every year I say I'm going to be Dorothy for Halloween, and I have yet to do it. Maybe this year it will happen.

2. The Family Stone. I watch it about ten times every year during the holidays. Love Actually comes close after.

3. Sex & the City the movie. I'll watch it every single time it's on tv. Same goes for the tv show.

I know I didn't give this enough thought. I love zombie movies, scary movies, dramas, bad scary movies, Spanish films...